OPINION

Opinion: Marco Rubio, a 'kid' and a 'clown' to be taken seriously

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., steps on the stage to speak at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta. Rubio will lay out a strategy on Friday, Aug. 14, to deal with the "tyrannical regimes" of Cuba and Iran, the same day Secretary of State John Kerry attends a historic flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 7, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., steps on the stage to speak at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta. Rubio will lay out a strategy on Friday, Aug. 14, to deal with the "tyrannical regimes" of Cuba and Iran, the same day Secretary of State John Kerry attends a historic flag-raising ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Havana. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

The presidential election will be held in 14 months. As of this date, the two Hispanic candidates, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are running while others are dropping out of the race. Of the two, Rubio looks to have the most traction and, in fact, is increasing his support in the polls.

My e-mail is flooded daily by letters from Cruz and Rubio asking for money. I’ve sent some and will send more as the campaign progresses, but not to Cruz. Despite his quasi-alliance with front-runner Donald Trump, the very fact his Senate colleagues have abandoned him in the normal course of Senate work shows that he cannot unify the GOP in any way. He cannot even get a second to a motion he offers on the Senate floor. 

Cruz is politically dead.

When Trump insultingly demands that we only speak English and calls forty-something Marco Rubio a “kid” and a “clown,” he isn’t just attacking the United States senator from Florida who is running for President, he is attacking me.

- Raoul Lowery Contreras

While Cruz is sinking, Rubio is the most acceptable candidate to a large percentage of Republicans. That was proven when Donald Trump called Rubio a “clown” at a heavily conservative conference. The crowd booed. They like Rubio.

Rubio calmly handles Trump and his assertions that Rubio is a “kid” and a “clown” by superbly presenting himself in debate. It is universally accepted that Rubio shined in the first two debates by standing tall on policy while Trump stood mute because he has no policy other than 3rd-grade bully talk.

Rubio has ramped up his nascent conflict with Trump by declaring that Trump is “sensitive” to criticism, too sensitive and in the final analysis, “insecure.” Though not as confrontational as Governor Bobby Jindal’s declaration that Trump is “narcissistic,” the tag “insecure” is a high-level charge that Trump simply cannot answer given his lifelong presence- by-design in the public square. His insecurity has been public property for decades despite his refusal to acknowledge the truth that Rubio has exposed.

Depth in Rubio shows well in the public square. He is a quick study and, as he says, is more concerned with the future than of the past or even the present. At the same time, he doesn’t run down the country or any of its people.

Rubio simply isn’t a negative person. That may be why many Republicans choose Rubio as a candidate they can accept and vote for. He is well-liked and his positive to negative ratio is either the highest or the second highest of all Republican candidates (depending on the survey).

When faced with Trump’s declaration that only English should be spoken in America, Rubio made Trump look silly by telling the story of his Spanish-speaking immigrant grandfather. There is no doubt that Rubio is what he is and he is proud of his Spanish-speaking history and his family’s Cuban background and their coming to America for a better life.

In contrast, Donald Trump told everyone he was Swedish for decades despite actually being the son of a Scottish immigrant mother and a German-American son of a German immigrant. Trump’s father even went so far as to change his German name and to claim he was Swedish because of anti-German feelings during WWI and WWII.

Policy differences, world views, family work backgrounds and even education separate Marco Rubio from the other presidential candidates. On top of those differences, we find that Marco Rubio is proud of his Spanish-speaking family background and can talk about his immigrant grandfather and parents with pride.

That pride and pride like it is everywhere in the Hispanic community. In Los Angeles, for example, Donald Trump-looking piñatas sell for $30 a copy and sell out wherever they are put up for sale. When asked why one young Mexican-American man was buying one, he said: “Because Trump attacks Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. He attacks me.”

When Trump insultingly demands that we only speak English and calls forty-something Marco Rubio a “kid” and a “clown,” he isn’t just attacking the United States senator from Florida who is running for President, he is attacking me.

Raoul Lowery Contreras is a political consultant. He was formerly with the New American News Service of the New York Times Syndicate. Contreras's books are available at Amazon.com

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